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It’s a miracle! The ocean turned sweet.
Posted: 19 August 2006 12:28 PM   [ Ignore ]
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Here’s a story that drives home the value of good public education.

People from the Indian city of Mumbai are flocking to the shore to taste the water in the ocean. According to some, a miracle has caused it to turn sweet and of course it now has the obligatory healing powers. The reality is pollution and possibly an infusion of fresh water are the reason. These people, who apparently do not have even the most basic ability to reason, are falling for this fallacy. Many are drinking it and even saving samples to give to relatives. Then there’s the closing paragraph:

“Last year, Mumbai residents flocked to a local beach after reports diamonds were washing ashore. Police said it was fragments of glass.”

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Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.
-Robert Park

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Posted: 19 August 2006 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Well, those in extreme poverty don’t usually take public education very seriously.  Usually they’re more interested in developing a trade skill, because that’s what you need to survive and feed your family.

Still, even if you can’t blame them for it, they sure are damn stupid.

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Soldier: This is the worst part. The calm before the battle.
Fry: And then the battle is not so bad?
Soldier: Oh, right. I forgot about the battle.

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Posted: 19 August 2006 04:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Hey man, whatever gets you through the day, right?

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Posted: 19 August 2006 06:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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I wasn’t criticizing the Indian people. This really isn’t their fault, it’s the fault of the culture they were born into. I was trying to point out how education with an emphasis on the real world (i.e. science) is of more practical use to the common person than belief in religion and woo-woo mysticism. Like everywhere else, the religious elite get all the perks and the common person is left with imaginary gods sending imaginary gifts which turn out to be, not diamonds and healing water, but broken glass and raw sewage.

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Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.
-Robert Park

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Posted: 19 August 2006 11:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well said, Captain Al.  It is truly amazing how far poverty can drive one’s self into superstition and belief in fantasies; even to the detriment of the person, or more likely in masses, the entire culture.

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Posted: 20 August 2006 10:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I think they are just pathetically superstitious, you know?

But poverty isn’t the cause, I doubt it anyway.  Remember the California gold rush?  Or the Yukon gold rush?  Or the Internet dot-com bubble?  All manifestations of the same thing, where-in otherwise reasonable people become mesmerized by the thought of quick, easy wealth.And bear in mind, in regards to the poverty classification, these people live the way their grandfathers, and generations going back to antiquity lived,  To them, they are not lliving in poverty, it is the norm.

I remember Loretta Lynn talking about her girlhood in Buthser’s Holler, where the windows had oiled paper, not glass, mud floors, etc.  When company was due, the kids were told to try to chase at least half the house-flies back outside.  Her comment was, ‘We didn’t think we were poor; we thought everyone everywhere lived like this.’

The point being, the Muumbas are only poor by our artificial standard and labeling.

By the way, Captain Al, I think Freud was sicker than any of his patients.  The quote you cite kind of confirms it, don’t you think?

Whew, am I ever on the attack mode!  Sorry, I am just rambling on, please do not take this as personal criticism, just my humble opinions.

Dan the Rambling Guy

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Posted: 20 August 2006 11:36 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dan, Jr, I pause to digress - I think you are noting my Freud quote, btw, and I disagree. I believe he meant exactly what he said, and that late in life, and had every reason to belive so.  As far as the Mumbas go, like all people, they are trying to eke out a living.  But it is truly a fault of the educational system there that they would believe, en masse or at least many, about the ‘healing powers’ of salt water contaminated with fresh, which often happens as the result of a water table change, aquifer shift, earthquake, etc.  Let’s all get on the bandwagon and attract gullible tourinsts with our “miracle water”? C’mon.

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Posted: 21 August 2006 12:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Dan Jr,
Your point about the California Gold Rush is a good one except for the fact that there really was gold in California and a few did get rich finding it. As far as I know none of the thousands who went there were motivated by superstition. And even if they were, they might be excused because that was more than a hundred years ago. It’s now the 21st century but many countries still have not seen their level of public education advance beyond the level of what they had in the 19th century.

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Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.
-Robert Park

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Posted: 21 August 2006 05:55 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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India spends $132 billion a year educating its 340 million children. In comparison America spends about $940 billion a year educating just 80 million people. So with 30 times the education funding per student, why do so many Americans use phone psychics? Or Lifewave patches? Or DNA tuning? Or crystal healing? Or aura therapy? Or homeopathy? Or the thousand other stupid superstitions that sites like this one, randi.org, etc. regularly document?

Better education hasn’t stopped people in the west being stupid, I doubt it would do so anywhere else.

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Posted: 21 August 2006 11:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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Exactly, I agree with David B. What is the difference between believing ocean water cures, or that a miracle pill will cure you of your obesity? Or that you should give birth in silence? Or that someone with the sign taurus is not a good partner for someone with the sign Aquarius?

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———
The Kruger-Dunning effect is rampant on internet fora.
J. Kruger & D. Dunning (1999), Unskilled and unaware of it: how difficulties in recognizing one’s own incompetence lead to inflated self-assessments. J Pers Soc Psychol. 77, 1121-1134

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Posted: 21 August 2006 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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There’s a reference to this in a breaking news story today from Lucknow, India about milk-drinking statues. Maybe one of you mods can find and post it.

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Posted: 21 August 2006 10:09 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Better education hasn

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Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment, you must also be right.
-Robert Park

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